The International Olympic Committee unanimously approved to add Ski Mountaineering to the Milano Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics.
Ski Mountaineering is a competitive winter sport which includes multiple race formats of individual, vertical, teams, sprint, and relay races.
The inclusion of ski mountaineering on the 2026 program will consist of:
- Five new medal events: two men’s events (sprint/individual), two women’s events (sprint/individual) and one mixed-gender relay event.
- An athlete quota of 48 (24 men/24 women) falling within the overall quota framework of 2,900 athletes.
- The Individual event is a mass start race that follows an established trail which skiers race up and back down challenging mountain terrain while passing through a series of checkpoints, using special lightweight ski touring equipment and techniques. The races ascend between 4,300 to 6,200 vertical feet, depending on the category, and typically lasts around 1.5 – 2 hours in duration.
- The Sprint race is a short fast paced fixed course format consisting of an uphill ski section, a booting (on foot hiking) section, and a descent around race gates. The races ascend up to 262 vertical feet and typically last around 3 minutes in duration. The format consists of a time trial to establish seeding into a bracket in which 6 racers compete against each other in rounds to keep advancing and racing to the final 6, to determine the podium.
- The Relay race is a format based on the Sprint, which consists of a team of 3-4 athletes taking turns to complete the course in a continuous circuit.
While Skimo has been popular in Europe for many years, the growth in the United States and other countries has all helped establish ski mountaineering as a unique and respected sport worldwide. This growth has been a catalyst to help bring Skimo to the Olympic stage.
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